Palatine will move forward with plans for a $12.8 million renovation of village hall, but the village council put the brakes on adding a fire station to the site.
The village council approved preliminary plans Monday and directed Village Manager Reid Ottesen to negotiate a contract with Wold Architects and Engineers of Palatine for architectural and construction services for the remodeling of the former school at 200 E. Wood St. Only Brad Helms of District 6 voted no.
However, Mayor Jim Schwantz and three council members voted against moving a fire station from Colfax Street to the village hall. Tim Millar of District 1 and Jim Clegg of District 3 joined Helms, and Schwantz broke the 3-3 tie.
Instead, the council directed the village staff to search the downtown area for a possible location for a new fire station. Council members have opposed any forced taking of private homes for the project.
At this point some fire department offices will be built in village hall, and the living area would be left as rough space, said Ottesen. The bays for equipment could be added if the council eventually decided the fire station should be at village hall.
All the council members agreed that both the village hall, built in 1952, and the fire station are in bad condition. Ottesen said the village must spend between $150,000 and $250,000 on the fire station in the next year or two.
A new village hall should be built downtown, and the Wood Street site is too congested for a fire station, said residents who objected to the plan.
"This is your last change to make downtown a destination point and vibrant," said Gerald Harbison, a 40-year village resident. "You ask, 'Where have all the customers gone? Why don't they go downtown?' There's nothing to draw them downtown."
Fire Chief Scott Anderson said he would prefer a new fire station nearby on Colfax, but the village hall site would not hurt response time.